tv Q A CSPAN December 23, 2012 8:00pm-9:30pm EST
>> tonight on c-span, a 90- minutes "q&a" when paul reid. that is followed by question time with british prime minister david cameron. then a discussion on the so- called fiscal cleft. -- fiscal cliff. >> this week on "q&a," a 90- minute discussion with paul reid, co-author of "the last lion: winston spencer churchill, defender of the realm, 1940- 1965." >> paul reid, co-author of "the last lion," the third of a trilogy. if you could have dinner with winston churchill and ask him a
serious question, what would it be? >> well, he did not like strangers. he did not like the press. i would ask him about his religious beliefs, or lack thereof. i found that fascinating. he was a victorian man. he made himself into a classical man. he had -- he lived his life in accordance with a precursor to the christian ethic that you find in plato and greek philosophers. this godless ethic. i found that fascinating. i would enjoy talking with him about that. and then -- let's see. the second front. i would like to have a final
word, because we americans have set him up with -- at one point, almost cowardly in his aversion to the second front. >> what does that mean "second front?" >> the push from general marshall to go to normandy. 1942, the sooner the better. franklin roosevelt, general marshall. we have to fight somewhere. it is an election year. churchill pushed back in 1942 and 1943. the normandy invasion came in 1944. for that, he put it forward for roosevelt and stalin most definitively. i would like to hear him tell me in his own words. in his memoirs, 10 years later
writing these, he avoids writing about the squabbles'. he does not even mention them. but the lion is pushed from the cliffs several times. >> what would he be like to be around? >> if you worked for him, he would get a mercurial, sometimes generous, sometimes overbearing, sometimes almost cruel boss. he did not know how to apologize. which men of his age and class -- they are not going to apologize to a young private secretary typist. they had a way of turning the tables. his version of an apology would be to say "you are doing a very good job today." the issue is never settled. he always had to get the last word on an.
one night, going through -- he should not have been out at all. his bodyguard pushed campbell -- pushed him into a doorway. a couple of men were actually wounded. and he said "thompson, don't do that." he said, "sir, you should not be doing this. this is dangerous." and churchill said "i am only doing this because i know you like it." which was completely untrue. he would make life more difficult for them in the typist pull -- he did not like shorthand. it is a middleman. why have short can -- shorthand and save time and type? he had the gramophone going.
playing old gilbert and sullivan tunes. then he would turn up the volume. he would be looking out the window and the typist could not hear him. and he would come over to the typewriter and put his hand on the white piece of paper and say "give me." just as a signal he was done. very curt. >> when would he dictates when he was alone? >> he would not dictate. he loved you -- he loved to move the taps. he would be splashing around in his bath. the typist would be across the hall. he might get out of his bath and run right across the top of the
stairs and get a dressing down. they bumped into him around the house. his kimono half open, or naked. but he did not dictate. >> if you were at the dinner table with him, would you have a conversation? >> yes, there would be a one-way conversation. he would say that his idea of a wonderful evening was to have dinner with friends, wonderful food, wonderful wine, and to spend the rest of the dinner in conversation with myself. and that was churchill. i would be quite daunted to sit down with winston churchill. folks as high as harry hopkins and general marshall and roosevelt were as well. winston one said at dinner -- "
winston pitches and everyone else? ." >> if you were to ask him questions about his immediate family, what would they be? >> i would ask how he felts about -- how he felt about his son's descent into all lissome and his daughters to send -- descent into mental illness. it was a very sad family. his wife was in and out of hospitals for nervous breakdowns. churchill's one daughter road, mary, did not care about what was going on in people's heads, had no use for suffering, was not very sympathetic. >> mary stone is his daughter, who i understand is still alive. you interviewed her?
>> i have spoken to her and #times. yes, indeed by telephone. wrote letters. she road very long letters. i call these feature story questions. what did you get your father for christmas? what did he get you? >> and she wrote you answers? >> yes. 7 pages. very nice. >> here is a clip of her from 1997. >> my father -- and i loved him very much. when he retired as prime minister, he made a speech to the house of commons, a long speech. the secretary on duty at the time -- he dictated every word himself. then, after he retired, you know
the last 10 years of his life, a fire rather like burning. sometimes the flames would spring up. other times the fire would be rather low. >> when did he die? >> january of 1965. lady soames inherited her father's literary talents. that was a very beautiful, powerful 30 seconds there. his last private secretary wrote a memoir called a " the long sun sets -- "the long sunset" about those years. that being said, i think he took cruises over to the
mediterranean, over to the new york. when the seas were rough, churchill insisted on watching the storm, being held there by four or five -- he described them -- as brown, burley, a greek sailors. when they took their meals during those storms come they would sit on the floor with bottles of champagne between their knees. this 88, 90-year-old man -- well, not 90, but in his late a.d.'s. he lived a very rich life. and of course, the second premier ship in the early 1950's. i think lady stones -- lady
soames is correct and she knows her father. the last years were a slow descent. diana, the daughter, died of an overdose of barbiturates. he did not quite get it. 64'88, '89, the christmas of -- they brought in fresh oysters and champagne. his private secretary was their. his children. christmas dinner lasted well and stu the 20 -- into the 26, and i think it was january 29 winter chill refused his brandy and cigars after dinner for the first time ever. he went into a coma and his
doctor -- both doctors said, it is a question now it is going to be a day? and it was a question of two weeks. they did not know how strong he was at the very end. >> you mentioned his private secretary jack cole will, and you mentioned a lot during the book. who was he? >> he was the private secretary to kept a diary, which makes him a gold mine for biographers. and he became personal friends with churchill. he worked for the foreign office. he was posted to 10 downing street as a temporary posting. it could affect his pension. professional provoke servants -- professional public servants
were wary of this kind of thing. roosevelt might be at the dinner table or stolen -- or stalin, and a wonderful honest diary about the old man, as he called churchill. midway through the war churchill allows them -- after much protestation -- to fly in the raf. then he came back for the end of the war and search princess elizabeth late in the 1940's. came back to no. 10 downing street. and he served churchill until the end. >> pat kenna was another of his private secretaries. we interviewed him in london in 1994. he tells a story about a time at the white house. we will run that and you can
fill in the blanks. >> it was rather amusing. on one of our many visits -- i have the better next door. the prime minister had an idea. he wanted to dictate immediately. he was still dictating. >> say that again? he was in the bath? >> yes. he was like a walrus, going down and coming up. he would say a few more words, you know? i dried him, put a bath towel around him. i followed him, no book in hand, -- notebook in hand, and he was still dictating.
and then there was a rap on the door. the door was opened. and here is the british prime minister, absolutely stark. he immediately said a " i have nothing to hide from you." >> anymore to the story that you know what? >> well, this is one of those stories that there are several sides to a. churchill did write a letter to the king. i believe he is the only british prime minister to have greeted the president naked. he said that he would not have said that they did not have things to buy because they did have things to hide. there was some dispute, good- natured, over the years as to whether that actually happened. i should add the stenographers
and typists were mostly young women. pat kinna was a corporal and he was shanghaied into the typing pool. many of the women went to bed in tears after taking dictation from churchill. >> any interesting cases? >> i think one important case was the mideast commander in cairo. he was russian. he broke poetry. -- he wrote poetry. churchill did not think he was a fighter. which was on fair, because he was. he just did not like to send his men out to slaughter. he talked about poachers bills based on churchill's latest schemes. churchill's sacked him.
he brought in someone to take his place who did stand up to a. there were fireworks between those two, and later between churchill and montgomery and churchill and eisenhower. it is funny. been more fireworks, the denser the fireworks, the better the relationship between the general or the admiral and churchill. if it is quiet, someone is going to get back. >> your name is on the cover and so was william manchester's. i assume you up and i asked this before. can you tell where manchester starts and where you start? >> that is the game. i hope not. i have had people i respect say, where did you start and where did he end, and he did about 200
typewritten pages. would be 100, 110 pages. but they are not linear. i moved in, and he might write a page, 3 of bill's 3 of mine. somewhere in there are his 100 pages. >> when did he die? >> he died june 1, 2004. >> when did you first meet him? >> in september of 1998. i went to middletown, conn. he had had two strokes. the marines were going up to boost his spirits. his wall of -- his wife of 30 years had just died. he was down. they went up to pick him up. >> we have got some video, just
a little bit of him coming to see what he'd look like in soundalike. then i will ask more questions. >> there are many mystifying traits in mcgovern. there is no question that he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire in world war i. but he wanted people at home to think he was in the owens family. he had photographs taken that showed him at the front. they laughed. >> what we see is what you saw? >> i saw an older man. what year was that? >> 1982. >> annette him coming up on 16 years later. -- i met him coming up on 16
years later. he had had the strokes. he was still shark. funny. i would take conversation over the denny table -- dinner table over those years. he could not right, but he could think. he could talk. he could analyze. he just could not connect everything on paper, and he hated not been able to finish the book. keystrokes actually gave him -- the strokes of shall give him a peaceful way of exiting. he did not have to fight any more. he knew he was not going to win. he started swimming at the y and in doing therapy. he found a measure of peace, if you will, after the strokes. >> what did you think about the james miller peace -- piece on
this book that you have done in "the new york times" on november 4? >> that was my first time on the other side of the offense being a former reporter. i think i just wanted to write a piece -- i wish you could ask him that question. i liked the peace. it was a tough job. 8 years. it took a chunk out of my time, my family, sacrificed. i think he liked that story. the human interest story. it was not a book review. he did a pretty good job at. >> the reason i lost that is at one point he mentioned people that were supposedly possible to complete this third book. he mentioned diana, and somebody told him, i do not know if it
was you or not, somebody told him that she was rejected because she was not -- what's the word? she did not like, she was not supportive enough of him. is that a true story and did he want you to be a booster of his potential? >> the first part of the question -- this is 1999, 2000. he did mention that writer. he did not say anything to me about her not like in churchill or anything. he offhand mentioned that he thought she was going to treat the londoners as victims of the blitz whereas he saw them as heroes. i understood what he meant by that.
he never said, i love churchill and you got to love churchill to , too. after i wrote the 50 or 60 pages addition, he was very, very ill and he died. he told me -- you write. i will add it. my red pencils are sharpened and ready to go. they are still sharp. >> what was your first impression? >> i have been telling folks -- i thought i was going to get this done. whatever takes, however long it takes. i did not worry the publishers would be thinking in year four, five "he is not able to do it." i just kept moving on. never gave in. from of process
standpoint did not work for me. the research was all their. the notes spoke to him in ways they could not speak to me. so, i had my own system. i have mentioned to other folks , if bill manchester was working on a biography of the third duke of burgundy or something, and not the guy. -- i am not the guy. and churchill was been a lifelong love. i remember playing churchill and mussolini speeches on the victrola on the old box radio we had. listening to the said five or six. "this is winston.
this is mussolini." mussolini made the trains run on time. that was the environment that i grew up in and i felt very comfortable when bill i asked me to finish the book. again, silly me, i thought i can do this. whether it was hubris or not -- >> what do you think he saw i knew that he had not seen in any of the other possible writers? >> we did talk about that. he told me once -- he said, try to find someone. he said, this is like a mother giving away her children to be raised by another. i would say, bill. he would say, nice try, but no. he said "if i wanted anyone, and
i do not, i would want a writer." later, when he last, he said "paul, you have written 500, 600 feature stories. that is where i started." he saw the journalists as having the same tools as the historian when it comes to sourcing. when all of that is assembled, tell a story that would pass the campfire test, i call it, a bunch of folks sitting around a campfire. and i guess he liked my stories. >> so, if you had to pick out of this book your favorite story, what would they be? >> i enjoyed his battles over
the american second front and when to go to france. churchill wanted to go everywhere. he wanted to invade norway, sumatra, trieste, italy, sicily, somewhere in france sunday. his generals were pulling their hair out. eisenhower was. he wanted to be all over the map everywhere at once at all times. and in greece, it was an utter disaster. so, i would love to follow hovering behind him, churchill as he goes from meeting to meeting. and then when he sells his generals on the viability of going to norway or thinking about it, he says no. we will go to some mantra. he gave them fits -- we will go to sumatra.
he gave them fits. >> so, you tell all kinds of stories in your. to cover the dunkirk story. what year was dunkirk. where was he in that process? >> the evacuation? >> yes. >> that would be the last week of may, the first few days of june in the 1940's. the french had been defeated essentially in brittany. the french expeditionary force, 100,000 men strong, half of them were stalled of the san -- south of the sienne. the other have spearheaded against the germans, and in short order the french collapsed against belgium.
they did it over a week -- at first, they thought they would get 10,000 or 12,000 men out. then anything that could float was sent over there. the got more than 200,000 british troops out. i found it interesting that several thousand french troops chose not to go. they thought, the war is over. we lost. we are home. back to the farm. how they fare, no one knows. >> what was the reaction in great britain to dunkirk? but churchill -- and churchill did this. he made a defeat of a victory. it was the most heroic -- and he said, the a evacuation retreats are not victories. he was clear on that. but the way he said it made dunkirk sound like baroque
victory. the british people came away saying, well, if we can do that, we can bloody well win. they completely had it backwards. they were running, swimming home without their weapons, without their tanks, trucks, and they came back soaking wet with no weapons. and churchill is telling the people by june 18 or june 20 "we are now building up what will be the finest army in europe and we will go back." >> in 1949 -- he is -- 1939, 1940, he is prime minister. how big is the british power at that point? >> it was about a quarter of the world's population. india, the subcontinent's.
the commonwealth. and australia, new zealand, canada. ulster, northern ireland's. >> hongkong and singapore? >> yes. >> how about africa? but they had a relationship with egypt -- >> they had a relationship with egypt. i thought they sort of control egypt going into this. but the deal was come up they administered the country to safeguard the suez canal. they did that. in south africa, they had the republic of south africa. and they had some somalis were land, territories there that the -- completely unprepared everywhere for war.
and i think that the british army plus the australian army had five or six divisions. the canadians -- all of them put together, even if they could all get to england were outnumbered by hitler's army 7 or 821. but they weren't in england ready to go. they were all around the world. the australians and british and singapore when that fell. so after dunkirk, here is a country like a boxer, down on one knee. about ready to call it a the. >> when did the blitz of london occurred? >> that is actually part of the battle of britain. the air battle began in mid july. >> of 1940?
>> of 1940. that is when the invasion scare began. the germans softening them up for the final blow, which churchill never believed was coming. i found that fascinating. he never for a minute believe the germans would invade. he assumed it was a scare tactic to build up the army. it did not help the u.s. was dragging its feet. the final plan, the german plan would be to soften up air bases in late august, early september, crushed the remnants of the raf. it was a good plan. while daring -- goering got
pillar's permission to bomb the ports -- bombing was so ineffective for both sides. churchill said, give it back to them. and that was the beginning. so, the blitz starts on september 7 in the evening. the germans came the next 81, 82 nights, something like that. and the terror bombing that they had feared and predicted began. there was no stopping the bombers. the bombers always got through. >> tommy people were killed and wounded in great britain? >> i think about 45,000 londoners were killed. at the end, the v2 rockets came. 60,000 people in a country of 47 million. you extrapolate -- that would be almost 200,000 americans.
unimaginable numbers now in united states. >> physically, what did winston churchill do during that time? where did he live? how did you relate to london during the blitz? >> he, with reluctance, left no. 10 downing st.. which was of firetrap. if a bomb had hit, that would've been the end. he went underground. the underground war rooms were a little more safe. a cave with 200 soldiers, families, typists, generals -- as many of your viewers may know, it was just fascinating. the walls yellowed by cigar smoke over 20, 30 months. he hated that. when the bombers came and he
heard the thuds, he would go to the roof, the worst place to go, and he would look in a flash and count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 -- that is a mile away. everyone was saying "don't do it, mr. prime minister. the bomb is falling. get out of the car. talk to the people in the st.. the survivors, the civilians." he was out there almost every day, and they knew that, the londoners'. that was his genius. it was brash behavior, but it worked. >> you said at one point the lights were supposed to be off, but he would smoke a cigar anyway? >> on one occasion, he was with a general, someone else, and the auto lights were painted on the
upper half. you're not supposed to use them at all in the afternoon. he came to a roadblock. a soldier said, you there. you there in the car. go no further. and from the car came "go to, man -- go to hell, man." i think the fourth person in the car was the minister of labour. he was from the west country. he would not have sounded like that. it was churchill. with a cigar in violation of all of the rules, telling the guards to go to hell. >> what did he think of the french? >> he loved france.
this i found interesting -- the u.s. versus british versus churchill's take on the call and the french and france. he felt betrayed in 1940 when the french tried to lure the final british fighter planes over to their side to fight the final battle they were already losing. churchill wanted to keep the planes at home. he thought the french have lost their fortitude, their sole. five years later, the goal gave it back -- degaulle gave it back. he was very disappointed. he could not speak the language very well. he loved france and the french people. he loved the legacy, the cultural france. it had to be resurrected. >> you connect a bit in here
with -- back in 1990's, we had someone in this country want pamelamed pat o'hara -- harriman. put all of that together. >> randolph is winston's son, and his own sister said he could pick a fight with a chair. pamela -- i am drawing a blank on her family name. she came from an old english family, very old. back to thomas of beckett. which is still a catholic part of england. the first time she met churchill, she had just met randolph. they met, mary, proposed within a week or so. she came to churchill's country
home. he was painting and she walked up. she was just 19, i think. very pretty. and the first thing out of his mouth was a " are you catholic?" which is very telling in that country. and she said, "well, we were, but we learned our lesson under cromwell." and he loved her. i think they were married in 1939. soon thereafter, in november 1940, little winston was born. the grandson. the marriage by then was already essentially over. the divorce finally came four or five years later. everyone in london knew in 1942
or 1943 or 1944 that the marriage was over. harriman came as a special envoy. walking orders from roosevelt work "find out everything we can do for inland short of going to war." randolph was in the desert on duty. he was a brave soldier. pamela and randolph and harriman met -- they would have to add these weekend country dinners at checkers, the country house of the prime minister. >> where is that? >> is in -- it is in kent, 45 minutes outside of london.
just lovely green vistas. also not on the flight path of the german bombers. >> in 2010, winston churchill iii died of prostate cancer. he was here and we want to show you just a little bit so you can see what he looked and sounded like. >> december 1945, the very hour of victory, the architect of victory was discussed. my grandmother said "my dear, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise." and he said, "well, but it was certainly very well disguised." >> what was she like?
>> she did not like politics. there were these strange irishman. churchill did not do anything to assuage the rumors that drove clementine to distraction. she did not like the gambling that he did. her daughter writes "in nervous temperament." depression. one-year, i think they had four dinners together alone. 1944. the aides are coming in and bombs are falling and guests are arriving. she had a pretty hard time. i am not sure -- winston was not sympathetic or empathetic for
matters of mental anxiety. >> what did you conclude about his mental health? >> that was interesting. i have a long talk with my editor, bill cook. i said, they warned him against the retroactive diagnosis, but this whole black bomb thing, he never used the term again. colville and others, nannies would save their children. they would say the black cloud is on him today. >> depression? >> no, for the nannies it is what we would call a bad hair
day. it was not used by these folks -- something we would call major adult depression. whatever churchill experienced in 1911 sounded like moderate depressive episode. he got through it. he does not mention any more in later years. during the war, the direst would say "winston looks pretty depressed." that created a citation and look at. and singapore just fell. the bismarck is on the loose. to burke just belle. he is having very bad days. -- tobruk just fell. i do not think his cronies were using depression in a very literal sense. i concluded, if as freud said,
if you can live and love and work, you are in full mental health, he loved his family. he never couldn't work, which is a symptom of depression. he never thought nobody loves me. all of these symptoms, ironically he exhibits some of them days apart. too much drinking, hyperactivity. he was not manic depressive. lifelong. he drank too much for 70 years. so, as a symptom of depression, what does that tell you? i mean, everything about him is complex, contradictory. >> before we move on, i have to ask you -- he talks about your editor bill phillips and says that you and bill phillips had never met each other in person.
is that still the case? >> that is still the case. bill phillips is the greatest man i have never met. >> explain the relationship. >> he has 1000 e-mail's we have exchanged. we talk on the phone. i was two years into the project before i met bill on the phone. >> were you then at the time? >> i was here, actually, in north carolina in our house. i did not really have a manuscript ready to send him. another year or two went by. i would send him what i would call chunks. we would go back and forth with the first 100 pages, the next, the next. never really exchanged the entire manuscript. is slowly went along. we would find as we were in the
seventh or eighth year and working on the last year of the war, changes there resulted in changes to the beginning of the book. it sounds counterintuitive. so, we had to go all the way back. things that were set in 1945 about the blitz. wait a minute. back and forth, back and forth. and bill was very encouraging. we did have this -- bill manchester and winston churchill love metaphors. in volumes one and two, manchester almost creates a shadow voice that is churchill ian with metaphors, and i thought it worked. if he was writing about macarthur, he would use that floury churchill's voice. and churchill from -- floury
churchill's voice. and churchill's memoirs -- they are just full of this. 1941, 1942. so, i started doing that. and bill phillips said, forget the metaphors. we want to write a 21st century book in a voice that is different from william manchester's. so, churchill uses the metaphor with quotation marks, that is one thing. but we are not trying to imitate either one of them. that worked wonderfully. and bill also on the fact that -- he told me in the editing for readability. if you tell me the bismarck sank on this date in this ocean, i am going to take your word for it, paul. that was a learning experience for me. my editors, if i wrote a feature story about the bismarck, they
would say, it sank on -- verify that it sank on this day in this ocean. readability was not their highest concern. >> do you and bill phillips of plans to meet? >> yes. i was going to meet him this very week. then i had some dental issues that resulted in canceling the boston to work. i would love to meet him. my dream is at some new england seafood place. i am a bostonian. and he would pick up the check for us. >> their times -- i know you say that winston churchill travel to the united states 16 times. how many times did he ask fdr to get into the war? clacks out one -- >> at one
point, he took to begging. he asked for destroyers. fdr said no. then he said maybe. then the first five or six dribbled in. they were rustbuckets. he told congress -- more last -- look at the deal i just made. we gave them drunk. at one point that summer, churchill i asked roosevelt to declare war. he was desperate. and so after a few brandies, and you will see churchill's saying "those americans are not good americans. they want us to bleed to death and come in and pick up everything for free."
at one. he talked about having everyone in england mill there wedding rings to raise $10 million worth of gold to buy american goods. to shame the americans. they did not do that. >> how much did winston churchill expect japan to get into the war? >> one of the things in doing this, i had to look at what is he interested in? what is in his head? he was interested in norway, sumatra, not japan, not the pacific. his knowledge of geography, the politics, the military situation was not there. he admits in his memoirs in order to imagine a picture with
a theatre of war or what have you, you have to have some knowledge, not let your imagination run free. he thought the japanese were a meek race, and a lot of the brits and the americans thought could not shoot straight, were bad fighters, would never have the temerity to attack the british empire. and he told people, they would never attack of ask. how could it come to that? >> and what was his reaction when the japanese bombed pearl harbor? >> that he had just won the war. he knew what that meant. >> here he is before congress the day after christmas 1944. >> wounds have been inflicted upon the nazi tyranny which have
bitten deep and will fester and inflame, not only in the nasty body, but in the nazi -- not only in the nasty body, but in the nasty mind. mussolini is now but a lackie and a serf, a mere utensil of his master's will. many have been astonished. what kind of a people do they think we are? is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?
>> right over his left shoulder was the vice president of the united states at the time, a controversial man. what impact did that speech have? >> i think the week that he was here had an impact. we were in the war whether churchill came are not keeping america was a raging against the japanese. not the germans. then hitler made the dunderheaded decision to declare war on the united states when he did not have to. churchill realized what that would mean if the americans looked to your first. the policy of germany first, then japan had be worked out, which is why churchill was in washington that month. i think americans like to
churchill. >> his mom was american. >> his mom was american. he was well-known on the lecture circuit. now here he is prime minister. they were familiar with him. i think he came out of that speech that day knowing americans took a liking to him because they were very wary -- and still were many -- that all they wanted were the colonies back. not liberty. not war freedoms. to recapture everything the japanese had taken from them by using american boys. and that americans resented. they were wary of that. as well as george marshall. >> we are about out of time. when did you finish this? >> this is about -- early this
year? >> early 2012? >> yes. about six months of copyediting and final editing with bill. >> out of all of the characters in at the sides winston churchill, if you were going to write another book, who would it be? >> well, admiral king resigned. and nod to my dad, who was a navy guy. fascinating character. >> will you write another book? >> yes. but i am not sure what it will be yet. i do have an idea in my mind that my editor likes a lot. non-about world war ii. >> but we're going to keep that quiet until you decide? >> i think so. because it is such an obvious
good idea and we are afraid someone else will do it first. >> paul reid is our guest. his book is called "the last lion," written partially with william manchester. >> bill's spirit is in their. regardless of his notes, william manchester is in their. i told them, i would not let him down, in not letting churchill downs. i think i made good on the promise. >> can you think of the exact moment when you said, yes, i am going to do what william manchester wanted? >> i think it was the morning after he asked me. we went up to his office. he put together a few more notes. he sent me home with a suitcase full of source books and encyclopedia and military terminology. and i told him, i can do this. i know about the blitz.
i have books of my own about the african campaign and the civic battle and the official history -- the admiral samuel eliot morison's official history. i thought, i can do this. somewhere along the lines, i thought, i do not know what bill wants me to do. we did discuss with someone. he said, you got to put your man in his times. what were the roads like? what were the airplanes like? were they pressurized? all of the details have to be there so the character can move through his world and the reader understands and has a feel for it. >> , treating -- how much reading did you do and where did
you do it? >> i had a nice library with a fireplace and a view of the blue ridge mountains and i have five desks set up in a u speeches, memoirs that were not available when bill was writing. also in the dining room couch -- chairs around the house. i would take two or three books and a note pad. if, for instance, it is the week before the invasion of russia, june 1941, i have all the diaries piled up next to one share. all of the recollections, the speeches churchill may have made, the telegrams to roosevelt, the warnings to stalin -- i approached it and i
told bill phillips -- >> as your editor. >> my editor, bill phillips, as if i was making a quilt. this got a little off in the " new york times" article, but focusing on that week, the invasion of russia, there is always something else happening that week, so now we have two or three stories that have to be intertwined, and you cannot go too far down the road into august with the russian front and then come all the way back to june 20 again and then go all the way down to august with the african front and -- it would not work. so i read a lot. i bought the memoirs. bill manchester in his notes had xeroxed a page and cut out a paragraph. 50 pages later you might find another paragraph from the memoirs. but there is no contrast -- what
team before and what came afterward. clearly bill wanted to paraphrase something from that excerpt, which kind of pointed me in a direction. when you have 5000 or 6000 pages of such directions -- so i read the memoirs. my copies are all marked up. >> how much of winston churchill did you read -- the books that he wrote? >> i waited. i used his six-volume war memoirs throughout and marked them up. if we are in the week of the russian invasion, i went to churchill's memoir to see his take on it. his takes, as he said, this is not history, this is his case. by omission and commission there are lots the shadings and errors. you cannot take winston at his word. so i pretty much read his
memoirs, pretty much in sequence. >> did you read -- william manchester's first two volumes? >> i've read them when they came out. i was one of the people back in 1988, 1989 -- i still have my copies. i reread them. the first several hundred pages of both and the last 100 pages of the second volume a couple of times in the last eight years. the preamble i did -- bill phillips and i came up with this. bill came up with it first. he was in a son of mr. manchester's pages and said, you have something here on page 90 of bills pages that really should go in a preamble. a character sketch.
we are already 90 pages into the book and we hear his favorite scotch is johnnie walker red. let's pick up these paragraphs, these out lying, and put them altogether -- outliers, and put them all together. of the first 35 pages, eight or 10 of them are bill manchester's and i flushed them out with depression and alcohol -- to give the reader is a sketch of winston. a movie trailer sketch. so that when you start the book you have got a feel for the guy. you are not going to be surprised when you find him having four brandies on page 50 -- does he do this every day? you already know that he does. there was a way -- we wanted this to be a standalone book. you were under no obligation to buy the first two volumes or martin gilbert's official
volume -- it is a stand-alone story. >> had you ever met martin? >> i had not. >> have you talked to him? >> i spoke to sir john keegan. he was very encouraging. he has now left us. i have spoken to the great- grandson, randolph, who is in his early 40's. winston the third, as people call him, lived in west palm beach. i lived there. we get to know each other pretty well. he was a good source. we would go out to lunch and talk about his grandfather. >> i counted in the index, 16, 17, 18 interviews william manchester did in 1980. and then i counted not more than six that you did, obviously recently. who did you talk to that help you? >> a lot of the people bill
spoke to argon. -- are gone. i spoke to the grandson of winston and to the daughter. i spoke to -- who else might be in there? one fellow i spoke to is dr. porter crow. he was a gi and later became a english professor down south. he had been bayoneted on borneo by a japanese soldier who was out of ammunition. he told stories that were just marvelous. it was from him that i learned that captains would allow the troops to play records on the epa system, but one record they would not allow was bing crosby singing "all be home for christmas." >> the famous white christmas'? >> gs.
>> use of the john keegan -- and andy rooney? >-- you spoke to john keegan, and andy rooney? >> i called at his office three years ago. he got on and said in a nutshell churchill was the greatest man of the 20th- century. then he told a story about stumbling -- he had made a left turn that day, he might have been crushed at the bottom of the underground escalator when the german bonds fell. he went on about taking the nation's inner be-17's and b- 24's. i asked him, with your colleagues dying around you, the british go out and the americans go out and some do not come home -- you still kept churchill in high regard? he said, absolutely. one other family i called -- the son of tip o'neill, tommy
o'neill, who is a friend of my brothers. in your house, growing up, back in the day -- your father was a consummate irish politician from boston. what was the take on churchill? >he said, a great man. there was no irish-english antipathy. >> how many hours did you spend, and how many different times dispense with william manchester? >> we knew each other for five years. i visited two or three or four times a year. sometimes -- my daughter was at u mass, he lived at middletown. when john john kennedy died he had known him -- as part of the story i talked to bill. 9/11, i went up to talk to an fbi agent i knew in boston and stop that bill's to get the take of a historian.
we were just friends. had dinner, what the red sox. >> what was he like? >> i forget who i have told the story to -- the first night i met him, he and the old marines were sitting around and talking about old marine staff. >> he had gone out there with the marines -- >> to do a feature story. there was a knock on the door at 10:00. a young woman from wesleyan with two books of his -- he wanted -- she wanted him to describe to grandfather. he invited her in, sat her in, offered her tea or wine, and the five marines talked about the war. she listened for two hours and got a story she would never get again. i had just met him hours earlier. i thought, this is a generous man. i always believed that. he would, a little boy, who
helped me do the book. bill would call him and talk about history, and he would say, that all is pretty smart. things he did not have to do. i noticed that. >> william manchester died at age 82 in 2004. winston churchill died at age 90 in 1965. how old are you? >> 63. >> that was in the "new york times" peace. -- piece. >> maybe he talked to me before my birthday. he should ask what day i was born, not how old i am. i am 63 now. >> the question i want to ask you -- the article came out on november 4 by james miller. how much of a impacted that have on your book travels as you go around and talk -- do you find everybody has read that?
>> i heard from friends and relatives and folks i had not heard from in years and -- but people might say, a nice article in the "new york times." i would say, i appreciated. pretty well told. >> it talked about the money -- you had an advance of t $200,000 and over a nine-year period he needed more money -- how severe was that? >> well, again, over the last eight or nine years a lot of people and a lot of jobs with a lot of bulls chasing a lot of dreams are doing whatever they have to do. that is the america we have lived in for the last six or seven years. i was not going to quit, so we did what we had to do. it gets stressful at times, but again there is a goal, there is a dream, there are people, the
publishers, the reader, churchill, manchester, who i cannot let down, cannot afford to let down. so -- >> there was a promise in all this that there will be more money now that the book is out? >> a promise? >> the advance is unless the book makes enough to pay you more? >> that is the deal. an advance -- >> my point of asking -- how do you live? >> now is the time, now that the editing -- all summer, right up to go into the printer in september, a couple of months ago, we were working eight-hour days on fixing the review copy and getting ready for print. now -- one person wrote a nice story down at the "palm beach
post." peace said, what are you going to do now? i have a couple of ideas in mind. but also, after my years in journalism and using this as kind of a curriculum vitae, i would like to teach journalism, nonfiction writing somewhere -- i think i would be good at it. that would give me the base to keep the income so i can take wild gambols at writing another book. >> my question, though, is you are talking to somebody after watching the whole thing -- there was a lot of interest in the fact you were doing this. is it -- how hard is it? was there a time when you felt the roof was caving in on you, you were not going to be able to make it financially? >> no, because thank goodness for good credit. my daddy told me that 50 years ago -- never bounced a check,
get good credit. i tell my kids that. with good credit you can chase your dreams. >> where did you meet your wife? >> at a july 4 picnicked in 1996. we were both divorced. she lived in massachusetts on the coast. i am a lender. -- a new englanders. i began at palm beach -- i was doing some freelance columns for "the boston globe." i traveled abroad to do free- lance magazine pieces. then i began at the "post." -- palm beach post, as an intern in 1996. the smart money i found out later in the office pool -- this 46-year-old guy is not going to move from boston to be an intern. but i wanted to be a newspaperman. >> and so?
>> i was an intern. >> for how long? >> 10 weeks was the internships. it began january 6, 1996, and there were other intern's there who were 22 years old. i'm 46, i have kids, i am buying a house. with my half of the old divorce settlement. -- and i was an intern. i was covering the county fair and cooking contests. there was a callow at the county fair whose skin had a map of america on it. i remember the first president's day weekend -- six weeks into the internships, i went into the editor's office and said, have a nice weekend, i will see you tuesday. what you talking about? i said, it is a holiday. they said, you do not get holidays. i said, i have my ticket and everything. and he let me go. >> you were a harvard extension
graduate? >> yes i was. >> masters? >> in the book arts with a history bent to it. >> what year? >> 1990. >> what have you done in your early life -- what kind of work? >> how early? >when i was 10 i did not shovel snow -- i did not know the lon. >> when you were 20, 25? >> i bartended, i played in a pretty good bluegrass band in upstate new york. >> what did you play? >> guitar. that was a good band. some of the people who sat in with us have gone on to stardom. enburg -- anyone
u.s. seen the civil war documentary, he is the guitarist on this. i bartended, i worked at a cat food factory -- that was gruesome. >> how long? >> 5 or six months. then they demanded 60-hour weeks. you got a lot of overtime. >> you did not have a college degree? >> i have left it to the college after a couple of years in the late 1960's. i thought sooner or later i will get it -- i love to read and study. i took my books ever were with me. >> how many children by your first marriage? >> 3. george, mary, and patrick. patrick is 20 now. he is at st. john's in annapolis, loving it. >> he does not take after his father -- a classical education, books? >> when he was five or six he was writing his own histories of medieval warfare. i stayed back. we played a wonderful video game, age of kings. you build your own castles and
-- i let him play as much as he wanted to. he took to reading. he loves history, faulkner, he is a reader. so i just stand back. he will go wherever he goes. >> what about the 1980's -- what kind of work did you do then? >> at a certain point, after factories and bartending, my father had been an employee at a japanese company and outside of boston. he had moved up to vice president to president with no equity and a share stock. my brother and i had worked there in high school in the factory. the company made steam valves and big heavy iron casting for steam traps on oil lines or submarines. it was light manufacturing, but
dirty, dusty, and that is what a summer job consisted of. my brother is older -- he came out of the army and went in as jr. purchasing clerk. sometime in the late 1970's i had had an of bluegrass. i always had a head for business -- i liked it. i came in as a purchasing clarke. a few years later, the trusties of the loan it to the factory had an offer from itt and they said if he wanted, find a way. and we did. an early leveraged buyout before the term even had that term. we increased sales fivefold and the second oil prices led to hide it steamed costs -- that led to large municipalities piping up their steam systems. everything worked out well. so we did that for a while.
12, 15, 18 years. torso on might end. >> why did you want -- 12 or so on my and. >> why did you want to go to harvard? >> i had to the girls -- patrick was not born yet. i love to read. my little girls were in a second and fourth grade. they had assignments and i would help them. i went -- there was a course in world war ii history being taught by a veteran. some great stuff there. i went for that. then i realized my the liberals and i would do homework to get -- my little girls and i would do homework together. school must be pretty cool that dad is going. it is a wonderful program. dr. sanford taught creative writing -- he is thank in this book. without him, no book. a strange, wandering paths that
met here from my father 60 years ago reciting a churchill to sandy -- i am a feature writer who meets manchester. i am not a big believer in fate, but these were a bunch of ships that in fact did not pass in the night. i could not imagine all these paths meeting enjoining -- and here we are. >> back to the riding aspect of it itself -- how did you write? long hand corner or -- give us the atmosphere where you wrote and what kind of day and what did you write with? >> i would mark -- i would try to color code them. my office looks like someone who
really needs mental health help. it looked messy, but there was method in the madness. i wrote directly to the computer -- the word processor. and i would write -- i do not want to say drafts. i would rewrite the same two or three pages eight or 10 or 12 times and then attach them to the previous three and go on to the next three. very slowly. some days -- i averaged less than a page today over those years. >> a page of double spaced copy? >> yes. >> did you print it out after you wrote it, or did it all we stay on the computer? >> i printed out some and then i
went down to replace my cartridge. this was after the first printout -- $37.50 -- i thought, there is no way i will print this out. icap each section in its own word document and each edited section so that chapter 1, bill phillips, chapter 2, paul reid2 -- a lot of word documents. my wife could describe it -- she watched me and i did not see myself. i would wander around the house, take a coffee out to the yard, wander around, sit on a bench. sit on a patio we have. the house could be burning down and i would not have noticed. i would do that for an hour or two or three. with the story percolating, what everydays story is. then come in and throw it on the computer, take a look at it.
put it away -- i might leave myself some notes, due this tomorrow. but after five or six -- 5:00 or 6:00 i knew, do not write anything. >> how did you sleep? >> really well. >> you never woke up saying, i have to get up and finish that chapter? >> a couple of times i woke up thinking something along those lines, but good thoughts, like so, put this in. or, note to self, pamela churchill was there in 1941 and they show up as a guest of his majesty's government -- in days, pamela was taken with him and in weeks he was taken by him. i thought, that is a good one. would go down in the morning and
go back to bed. >> is there any evidence that there are things in this book that have never been published before? >> there are no new memos released by the british government. i think my take on the fact that churchill never believed the invasion was coming and had the scare to build up his forces -- i have never seen it developed quite that way. the numbers of german ships in his pocket -- he knew them. the germans would take every ship they had and everything they could steal from norway and sweden to put their 96,000 troops on and would be slaughtered on the way to england by the royal navy and that would be the end of the war. the whole hollywood industry of lying -- the invasion of england, we will fight on the
beaches -- he never believed they were coming for a minute. if it were to come, he would lose the war. >> i would love to ask you about 1400 more questions, but we have to let you go. we kept you an hour and a half. paul reid, thank you. the book is "the last line." with his co-author, william manchester. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. host: call[captioning performedy national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call the number on your screen. for free transcripts, or to give your comments about the program, visit us at q-and-a.org. "q&a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts.
>> tonight, british prime minister david cameron, followed by a round-table discussion of the fiscal cliff negotiations. then another look at this week cost 90-minute "q&a" with author paul reid. next, prime minister david cameron talks about the 3800 british troops that will be withdrawn from afghanistan by the end of 2013. he added that a small number of troops would remain to return equipment and maintain a and officer training academy. members asked about the uk's immigration policy and concerns over proposed national health services spending cuts. >> questions to the prime minister. >> number one, mr. speaker. >> thank you.
i am sure the whole house will wish to join me in sending our best wishes for christmas to our brave armed forces in afghanistan. it to their families who will be missing them, and to the servicemen and women around the world -- you are always in our thoughts. we owe you a deep debt of gratitude and sinew our heartfelt thanks at christmastime. i have meetings, and in addition to my duties i shall have further such meetings later today. >> thank you, mr. speaker. thanks my right honorable friend for comments about wishing a merry christmas to our service families under deployment -- service members under diplomat and their families. could my friend also tell me what progress has been made to remove the metals -- give the metals, especially those who served in arctic convoys, for their bravery? >> i thank my friend. on the issue of medals, which is
gone on for a very long time, i am delighted to tell the house we have reached a resolution to conduct a review -- not just into medals in general, but to look at one of the most important cases. he has completed his work and i thank him for what he has done. more details will come from the minister of defense in the new year, including how veterans can apply. i am pleased to tell -- on at the arctic convoys, sir john has recommended that there will be in arctic convoy star medal. i am very pleased that some of the brave men of the arctic convoys will get the recognition they are richly deserved for the dangerous work they did. sir john concluded that they have been treated inconsistently with those who served in fighter command. he has therefore recommended, and i also agree, that the command -- bomber command be awarded a bomber command cross. at 82 of the members